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Helium Mobile, the hybrid wireless carrier that combines service from the decentralized, crypto-powered Helium 5G network and T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network, has opened up to the public in Miami, Florida as the first stop in its rollout. And it’s priced at just $5 per month.
That $5 monthly fee unlocks unlimited talk, text, and data, Helium Mobile announced Tuesday and does not require a contract commitment. The offering is available to anyone who lives in Miami with an eligible zip code, along with other users who have been admitted via the waitlist or a referral from an existing subscriber.
While there’s no cap on the amount of data a subscriber can use, a Helium Mobile representative confirmed to Decrypt that speeds are slowed after a user tallies 30GB worth of data usage per month. Traditional unlimited wireless plans often slow data speeds after a certain usage benchmark, as well.
Your friends ask what's Helium Mobile?
Show them this!👇 pic.twitter.com/jm7b8aTfdK
— Helium Mobile (@helium_mobile) July 19, 2023
The $5-per-month plan is marked down substantially from the previous $25-per-month planned rate, which was advertised on the Helium Mobile website as of this morning.
Among traditional mobile carriers, no-contract unlimited plans typically start at $25 per month, such as at the Verizon-owned Visible, while some carriers offer limited-data plans for lower prices than that.
Announced in September 2022, Helium Mobile is a pioneering wireless carrier that relies in part on a decentralized network of cellular node operators. In exchange for running a dedicated 5G (or 4G) hotspot from their home or business and providing service to nearby users, they’re rewarded with MOBILE crypto tokens.
T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G service, meanwhile, is used as backup when Helium Mobile users aren’t in range of a Helium 5G node. That way, subscribers can remain connected, particularly in the early days of the network as coverage gradually expands. Helium Mobile calls this hybrid model “Dynamic Coverage,” and revealed its partnership with T-Mobile in 2022.
Nova Labs, which represents the founders of the decentralized Helium network and key contributors to its development, is the firm behind Helium Mobile. The company raised a $200 million Series D round in 2022 to hit a $1.2 billion valuation. It previously mentioned plans for a $5-per-month service fee for Helium Mobile but had not said it would be an unlimited access plan.
Helium Mobile users can also earn MOBILE tokens just by using their phone on the network and opting into sharing data on network coverage. That feature lets users potentially help improve the reliability of the network while earning crypto rewards as an incentive.
Launched in 2019, the original Helium network is focused on providing wireless coverage for Internet of Things (IoT) devices like sensors and trackers and is powered by users who run nodes and share their internet connection in exchange for crypto rewards.